WELCOME TO REDHILL FOREST
Redhill Forest is in the middle part of a South Park ridge that runs from Fairplay in the north to Hartsel in the south. The subdivision was once part of the sprawling Trout Creek Ranch. In the late 1970s a large portion was subdivided by a Florida investor, Morris Burk, who prior to creating Redhill Forest was a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins football team. Large acreage tracts were subdivided into smaller ranch properties on the Middle Fork valley floor, and the ridge was subdivided in five different filings.
Today Redhill Forest has 583 lots ranging in size from one acre to nine acres. It is a covenant controlled community governed by a board of managers made up of Redhill owners.
The HOA Is responsible for the administration and management of the roads, community water system, architectural reviews, and regulations. Its operations are funded with annual member dues and fees for water taps/consumption.
The story of South Park is the story of Colorado. Prior to trappers and settlers, the valley was roamed by Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne. The gold rush of 1859 brought miners scouring the streams and digging into the mountainsides. Then came the ranchers, the merchants and in 1879, the railroad. The railroad pushed out of Denver largely following the path of US 285. It continued by Jefferson and Como and then turned south at Trout Creek running along the eastern side of Redhill Forest. Just south of Redhill the railroad sliced through the Middle Fork gap (Garo) and ultimately continued to Gunnison. A spur was built to serve both Fairplay and Alma.
South Park has been designated a National Heritage Area. The South Park City Museum is open from May 15 to October 15. Founded by a Colorado Springs attorney in 1959 it is a truly amazing collection of buildings that have been relocated from throughout the county and adjacent areas to reconstruct a main street. It is one of the most fascinating museums in the state and easily takes a couple of hours to tour.
South Park also is the name of the long running Comedy Central animated cartoon. Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who grew up in suburban Denver) met when attending the University of Colorado. Their comic series certainly has made America familiar with the South Park name.
South Park is the largest of three mountain parks which are expansive alpine valleys in Colorado's central Rocky Mountains. It is unusually open grassland due to the persistent winds. From many of Redhill’s lots you can see a vista that extends 100 miles from Breckenridge to Westcliffe. This is one of the few places in Colorado where you can see four mountain ranges (Mosquito, Sawatch, Sangre de Cristos, and the Pikes Peak massif) and 15 peaks over 14,000 feet.
Fun fact: the geographical center of Colorado is located just a little off shore at Spinney Mountain reservoir.
On the west side of South Park there are two long north-south ridges just east of Fairplay which extend about fifteen miles. The eastern ridge is Reinecker Ridge and the western ridge is Redhill. Redhill gets its name from the Red Dakota sandstone found on the ridge and throughout the area. This is the same sandstone found in the Maroon Bells (Aspen) , Red Rocks (Denver), and Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs). From the entrance to Redhill Forest to its northern end the ridge elevation rises from 9,200 feet to almost 10,000 feet.
The high altitude forest is made up primarily of slow growing bristlecone pines (some of the oldest trees in Colorado), ponderosa pines, and small groves of aspen.
From the entrance, Redhill Road branches into several north south roads that run along both sides of the ridge. All the roads are maintained year round and plowed in winter and graded in summer.
Redhill Forest weather will confound even the most seasoned Colorado resident. Although the prevailing winds come from the northwest (especially in winter), wind direction and storms can blow from any direction. With a ridge of 13,000’-14,000’ mountains just across the valley to protect from storms, Redhill gets a surprisingly light amount of winter snow for its high altitude. It’s not uncommon to see about six inches of snow on the ground during an average winter on the west side and about a foot or more on the more heavily forested east side. Snow and rainstorms tend to come in squalls that can last for a few minutes or a few hours. Redhill Forest is also sunnier than other high altitude areas in the state.
Summer temperatures are fantastic with highs peaking in the mid-80s during the day and quickly falling back down to the 50s at night. Winter daytime temps will rise into the upper 30s and during January and February can drop down to -10 to -15ºF at night.
Clouds put on a continual show and sometimes can fill the valley floor with a seeming carpet of cotton.
Based on county property records (2022), Redhill Forest had 569 owned lots. Of these, 74% were owned by Colorado residents and the other 26% by out-of-state owners from across the country. There are just over 150 homes ranging in size from 800 to 4,000 square feet, of which nearly 40 are primary residences.
During its first couple of decades, Redhill Forest owners purchased lots with an eye to having a campsite and access to area fishing and hunting. Owners of RVs invested in driveway and lot pad improvements with some of them adding electrical, water, and septic hookups. Early Redhill homes were smaller in size and were either small cabins or A-frames, which was very much the style of that time. Home size and designs started changing in the early 2000s. Since roughly 2010 homes have tended to be larger, many now with attached garages, and of a more “mountain modern” design that is commonly found in resort areas. Being equidistant to both Denver and Colorado Springs, Redhill Forest is a two hour drive (or less) from Colorado's major metropolitan centers. In the last three years lot values have increased 3x to 4x and the demand for water taps has noticeably picked up. All of this points to a change in the market with a higher interest in buying and development.
HUNTING AND FISHING
Redhill Forest residents enjoy outstanding hunting and fishing access through specially negotiated easements. For hunters who have a tag for the unit on Reinecker Ridge, there is a gate that allows easy and direct access.
Fly fishers have access to the Middle Fork of the South Platte for a total of 4 miles (with an extra mile available for some designated lots). There are two parking area and sign-in kiosks in three locations.
Public access water for fishing the Middle Fork is just south of Redhill Forest (Tomahawk and Badger Basin) and there are many open stretches between Fairplay and Alma. Lake fishing is south at Antero, Spinney Mountain, and Eleven Mile reservoirs and east at Tarryall reservoir.
HIKING AND WINTER SPORTS
Numerous trailheads in the cross-valley Mosquito Range can be reached in 20 minutes. Access to six fourteeners (Sherman, Democrat, Bross, Cameron, Lincoln and Quandary) is less than 30 minutes.
For nordic skiing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, many of the Mosquito range trails and 4WD routes are accessible. For alpine skiing and snowboarding, Breckenridge offers ample terrain and is a 45 minute drive. For a less crowded and less expensive ski experience (and more original Colorado), Monarch is about a 1.5 hour drive as is Ski Cooper (Leadville/Tennessee Pass).
South Park is brimming with wildlife and Redhill Forest is a great place to see a lot of it. There are large elk herds, mule deer, pronghorn, and moose—all frequently seen. More elusive are coyote, bobcat, bear and mountain lion. Birds range from hummingbirds, eagles (golden and bald), hawks, osprey, turkey vultures, ravens, Steller's jays, and Clark’s nutcrackers.